Flinders Ranges trip 2016

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Big Al
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:45 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie N.S.W.

Flinders Ranges trip 2016

Post by Big Al » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:22 pm

The ride was originally planned to be of an approximately 16 day duration , a couple of months out from the trip one of the originally planned participants changed bikes , bought a 2010 KTM 690 and sold his well sorted 2012 990 . He went through the processes one goes through with a new bike in the shed , made most of the appropriate mods , but coming down to the wire with this trips departure date was having some issues with the 690 , the bike kept failing to proceed about 60 - 100 km into each day ride he started over a couple of week period , after a few attempts to remedy the fault himself , it was trailered to the local KTM dealership and they commenced to try to isolate and remedy the issue . The day of planned departure arrived and still the faulty 690 was not fixed . We decided to wait a day or 2 as the weather was very poor and we all wanted to do the ride as a group.

However , when the 690 still did not have the required part to remedy the fault by the Monday after the preplanned Sunday departure date , we decided we could wait no longer and set the Next (Tuesday ) day as departure date Mk 11 . Less one participant sadly .So then there was 2 , Steve , riding his Blue Yamaha Tenere 660 , and myself riding my 2011 Rally Raid kitted and owner modified KTM 690 .

Day 1 . 13 th September 2016

I met Steve at a local Fast food outlet and we swallowed a large Cup of questionable quality Cappuccino each before mounting our steeds and setting off in the opposite direction to most of the commuter traffic headed into our Coastal City . We were headed West .

The original plan was to get to the West of the Great Dividing range on the slab and then continue in a Westerly direction on Dirt roads predominantly , right across New South Wales and into South Australia over a few days to get to the focus area of or trip , the Flinders Ranges , which lay approximately 1500 km West of our home area . That plan had to be amended somewhat due to a large amount of unseasonal rain that had drenched the whole State of New South Wales for the preceding 2 months or so , this weather had had the unfortunate effect of making most of the dirt roads we had planned to use unpassable , some due to swollen creeks and Rivers having broken their banks and others due to being closed by the local Government Authorities to avoid damage to the very soft surfaces . Up shot of all this was , we had to alter our route to all slab running for the 1st 1400 km .

We were out on open Highway within 30 minutes and set the speed on the limit for the road (110 KPH ) and droned along for several hours , taking appropriate turns as we went to go in the desired direction . Our first stop was in Dunedoo ( Pr. Dunn - e - doo ) , where we fuelled up the bikes at the fuel pump and then our bodies with tasty pastries from the bakery .

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We had made pretty good time so far so had a relax in the Sun for about 30 mins after eating and then got under way . More boring slab later we pulled up in Dubbo for another top up of fuel for the bikes and then kept moving West . The Macquarie River in Dubbo surprised us by being almost at bridge lapping height , seems the rain really had been dumping down out in the Central Western areas of our State . A couple of Hrs later we rolled into Nyngan and as the next town to the West was several hours away and can be a problem to find accommodation in , we elected to find a room in Nyngan for the night . We were fortunate that our preferred Motel and preferred room were available ( recommended by friends ), so we did the paperwork and set ourselves up in the room , did our personal hygiene stuff , before walking down the street to find a watering hole .

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A couple of relaxing ales smoothed over the trauma of having to do 600km of slab on fresh Knobby tyres , once the Sun began to dip towards the Horizon we made our way down the block a wee bit to the RSL club , a few more beers were sunk waiting for the Bistro to open it's doors before could order our Evening meals . Once we had ordered our meals Steve selected a bottle of Red wine that befitted our celebration , the first rule of our little group is being upheld here " Celebrate great mates doing good things together " . We toasted our good fortune to be on the road again with a fine Australian Merlot and ate our food while discussing what lay ahead of us and also posted the odd teaser shot via wi fi from the days riding on social media to make our friends just a bit jealous . Dinner done we walked back to our Motel room and finished off the evening making contact with our respective Wives and a bit of net surfing , pic uploading and the like .


Day 2 . 14 th September 2016

We were up and packing our gear reasonably early , so by 7 am we were in the local Cafe ordering a nice cooked Breakfast and coffee . Once done there we doned our riding gear and set off Westward again , and , again we were amazed as we crossed the bridge over the Bogan River , the water was very high , the park near the Bridge was under water with the Childrens play apparatus being just visible and picnic table tops being at water level . The Barrier Hwy takes a pretty straight line on a large scale Map , but I found the riding anything but boring as there were plenty of things to look at between Nyngan and Cobar as I rode along at 110 KPH . About half way to Cobar from our days start point the cloud began to look quite menacing , very dark low cloud directly over where our Highway was taking us , a short time later we encountered light patchy rain squalls which deteriorated into heavier patchy squalls the closer we got to Cobar .

Arriving in Cobar we got under the cover of an awning to keep what was still not quite wet from getting saturated as the heavens really opened up as we stopped . The Vote to have a coffee and warm up a bit in Cobar was an Unanimous one , so we found a cafe with a vacant table and sat down with our warm drinks . Warmed up and caffeine level restored we added our wet weather garments over the top of our riding attire and set off in what was then light rain but with a strong head wind .

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Emmdale was our planned lunch and fuel stop , we arrived there about 11 30 am so fuelled up first and then went inside to order our lunch and pay the fuel bill at the same time . Lunch was a great Hamburger and as we had ridden through the rain and out the other side of the weather band , we were basking in warm sunshine as we ate . Things were improving as the day wore on . The wind was still with us though , still a head wind too most of the time . After a nice lunch and relax we got back on the road still Headed West and wound the bikes up to the speed limit , the Kilometers wound by and after a few hours we rolled into Broken hill , the first Motel we enquired about Accommodation was full and said it was a very busy time , they suggested we go to the Tourist info centre to ask about possible accommodation options . We took that advice and the lovely staff did just that , they found us a room at a nice motel and gave us directions on how to get there as a free service to travellers - good call that one .
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We found our Motel and the owner immediately upgraded us to a larger room at the same price due to knowing that being a traveller on a bike you have to bring all your gear inside for secure storage for piece of mind . We did our cleaning up and dressing for the Pub walk in turn and then walked the 1/2 hour or so up the street to the Pub , had a couple of beers and a bottle of Red with our meals and made our way back to our room to do the nightly check in with our respective spouses before bed time .
Last edited by Big Al on Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

Big Al
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:45 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie N.S.W.

Re: Flinders Ranges trip 2016

Post by Big Al » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:49 pm

Day 3 . 15 th September 2016

Again we were up pretty early , I checked the weather prediction for the areas we were headed into and it looked OK for our amended plan to be a goer . We were at a cafe for Breakfast around 0730 and then headed for the Border by 0830 . The weather was clear with some cloud on the horizon , we enjoyed the sunshine and lack of wind after the previous days headwind buffeting . A comfort stop was required by yours truly at the amenities in Olary so a walk around and stretch was also performed to aid circulation of the lower limbs .

We were in quite flat country now .

After setting off again and continuing down the Highway for another hour or so we pulled up to the fuel pumps at the road house in Yunta , fuelled both bikes full to the brim . Less than 1 km down the Highway from the fuel stop we turned left onto our first Dirt Rd of the trip , 2 and a bit days on Highway to do 1400 km so we could ride around the area of South Australia known as The Flinders Ranges .

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We were not at all sure the roads we intended to ride were actually rideable on loaded Adventure bikes , but we were sure going to find out , being before noon when we set out onto said roads meant that if we had to back track to Yunta for whatever reason we would still reach our planned overnight location before beer o'clock . As it turned out the roads were not too bad considering the rain that had fallen over the weeks leading up to our visit , there was some standing water in low areas and depressions , a few slick clay based sections that demanded serious respect but we are both experienced dirt bike riders so a few extra slippery sections and some critical line selection places were all taken in our strides . It was great to be on a surface that made you think about where you are and what you are doing again . It was about 200 km of dirt rds and twin track type farm access tracks through to Terowie , and then about 30 km of tar back road to our overnight stop at Peterborough . We were into Peterborough pretty early , so we had a late lunch and then found a room , got unpacked and washed up , did a bit of shopping for some personal items and made our way to the Motorcycle museum located a short walk from our lodgings .

The Bike Museum had quite a few bikes , some quite rare ones , some that were once common but are not so anymore and some bikes that I am quite familiar with but some people may not be . I only took a few pics as I wandered around the displays .

Once we had our fill of the Museum collection we walked back to our room and put our camera batteries on charge and adjourned to the bar for a couple of quiet ales . We had the good fortune of being in a welcoming environment , the locals engaged with us and we had a few laughs with them over a few drinks . When the Hotel Bistro opened we went and ordered our meals , in pretty short time they were delivered to our table and duly consumed . A few more Beers in the bar saw us out for the night and we went back to our room to do the obligatory calls to our spouses and internet bits and pieces .


Day 4 . 16 th September 2016

We were up and getting packed up pretty early again , out and looking for a cafe and fuel by 0730 , no cafe was found in Peterborough but we got our fuel tanks filled and decided to wait till a cafe could be found on our route for Breakfast . We were on dirt pretty much as soon as we reached the outskirts of Peterborough heading in a Northerly direction and enjoying some very Green farmland vistas and then some quite Green natural bush areas too . The route I had planned using Basecamp brought us to a farm gate and the track that we were to use appeared to disappear into a paddock and peter out , so the paper map for the area was brought out to get an over view of where we were and where we wanted to go . The map made it clear that we needed to backtrack a Kilometer or so and turn to the West and follow that out to the Main rd and turn North again . So we did exactly that , a few kilometers up the main rd we rode into the nice little town of Ororoo where a cafe was duly spotted with parking right in front and outdoor seating in the Sun , perfect for Breakfast .

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Once Breakfast was done we set off out of Ororoo to the North and before we had reached the outskirts we turned Off to the right onto a nice dirt rd that wound it's way through loverly Green farmland for about 50 km before joining up to our original planned route . This was a great morning of vistas that we , as East Coast residents , rarely get to see , very few trees and low rolling hills covered in Green grass , we did realise though , we were very fortunate and that this very Green view we were getting is not the regularly seen scene here , the recent rainfall over the area had been well above the norm for this area , so the green was very much a rare occurrence , most often there would be a bit of Green interspersed with a lot of bare earth and some Brown flora as well .

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Our route took us North wards staying on the Dirt towards Hawker . One road in particular realy made this part of our ride special , it was just a fluke I had chosen this road as there were others in the area that went in the same general direction and would have gotten us to our lunch destination at around the same time too , but what a cracker of a ride this road was , pretty much just a farm twin track for most of it's length it wound over a ridge line and followed a creek bed for a while then climbed another low ridge which was very rocky towards the top and then down into another valley along a creek and then out through a gate onto a larger road it was very special to us .

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We rolled into Hawker in the early afternoon and fueled up the bikes and went around the corner to the only Cafe in town . Here we encountered the cafe Nazi , about the worst customer relations you could imagine , ignoring the Nazi to a large degree , we had lunch and then got out on the road . We rode North on the Tar up into the Flinders proper , passing scenic vistas left and right for Kilometer after Kilometer . We Turned off the Blinman Rd and rode down into the Wilpena village to have a bit of a tourist experience , once that was checked out , we remounted our bikes and headed back out to the Blinman rd and turned North once again .
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About another 40 or 50 km up the road we turned left into the Bunyaroo scenic rd .

Along this road were many more amazing vistas , wild flowers everywhere and some iconic Australian wildlife too . This road even uses a creek bed as the road for a short distance and it was running as we rode it ( See Video ).

https://photos.smugmug.com/Flinders-rid ... 4-1280.mp4

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At the tar intersection we turned Left again coming back on the Blinman Rd heading North once more and about half an hour later after dodging an absolute menadgery of wildlife we turned left into the Parachilna rd at Blinman and wound our way to Angorichina Village . We scored a cabin here in Angorichina for 2 nights and settled in . There was quite a few other Advriders staying at Angorichina too , I was aware that they would be there as I wanted to talk to some of them about our plans for the next week or so . Within a short period of time we had been invited to go over to Blinman as it was Wood fired Pizza night at the North Blinman Hotel and there was 2 cars going over the 15 Klm drive with designated drivers . The Pizza was great , the Beer was also damn good and the company was even better , we had a great night and we were delivered back to Angorichina expertly by our driver . We sat around the fire pit after returning from Blinman and consumed a few beverages while enjoying our great company's humour and hospitality till tiredness overcame us , my Bed was welcome and sleep came quickly .
Last edited by Big Al on Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

Big Al
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:45 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie N.S.W.

Re: Flinders Ranges trip 2016

Post by Big Al » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:21 pm

Day 5 . 17 th September 2016

Today our plan was to do a local loop ride before Lunch and do some exploring after lunch and have a good look around the area . Local advice though was to get going early as there was some rain on the way and it was not clear how much rain would be coming over the next 24 hrs . We Set off in overcast but dry conditions to the start of the Glass Gorge Public Access route and turned into the Gorge road (a track really ) , not long after it began to rain lightly but consistently , gradually the surfaces became water saturated and the smooth rock and clay surfaces were quite slick and appropriately slippery , it became a relief to enter a creek bed and ride on the course sand and fine rocks accumulated in the creek beds as the concentration required for the more slippery surfaces was draining . WE turned off the Glass gorge PAR and onto The Artimore Ruins PAR as planned and went and had a look around said ruins .

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We got back on the bikes and rode the last half hour or so of the Artimore ruins PAR out to the Wirrealpa - Blinman rd and turned right to head back into Blinman . In Blinman it was as busy as a major centre would be , we had a job finding a space to park our bikes on the street in the vicinity of the General store , we lined up to get something to eat after removing our dripping wet outer layers on the veranda and then ate our lunch on the veranda watching the parade of people coming and going . After a feed we discussed our plan for the afternoon and decided getting back to our accommodation and drying things out was a priority , so we suited up and rode the 15 km back to our cabin at Angorichina . We arranged our wet gear around the cabin to dry out and did some laundry as well , the cabin had a small fan forced heater supplied with it so I set up the heater to blow hot air on the heaviest of the wet items and did some route planning and reading while keeping an eye on the drying process . Late in the afternoon we made our way to the Village shop which is a one stop shop , has fuel , food , both fast food and cook your own styles and sells Alcoholic beverages as well , we bought some meat and veges as well as a bottle of Red wine and a six pack of beer each for our mates had invited us to the evening BBQ out the back of their cabin around the same fire pit as we sat around the previous evening . The rain had backed off to intermittent so we were hoping it would cease altogether . Sadly , as darkness descended the rain renewed it's assault on our location and we were forced to remain indoors for the evening , luckily the BBQ itself was under an awning so we could still cook our meat on it . The weather and other factors made it a bit of a quiet evening but still an enjoyable one . We got back to our cabin at a respectable hour and rearranged the drying garments to make sure the few items still a bit damp would be dry by morning and went to bed .

Day 6 . 18 th September 2016

Once out of bed , I opened the curtains and viewed the scene , still light misty rain . I then checked what the weather prediction was on the television weather report as we had no internet or phone reception at Angorichina , they were predicting showers clearing . So we slowly packed all our gear , then had some breakfast and coffee as we waited for the weather to come good . Over the period of a couple of Hours the sun did show through a few times and then the cloud came back and dropped a bit of light rain before eventually the sun won the battle and we ventured out to load the bikes . As we loaded our gear on our bikes our friends came and said their good byes as they were heading home that morning , we had a brief chat with each of them as we went about our preparations to leave and thanked them for their company and hospitality . It was a bit of a late start to the ride for us but as we were only going about 100 km today it was not necessary to get going early . We were away around 10 30 and Headed West once on the road . Shortly after leaving Angorichina there was a swollen creek to cross , we had ridden through this section of road the day before and this creek bed was dry , so the rain of the previous 26 or so hours had turned this dry creek bed into a flowing Brown creek . I was not at all sure how deep the water was , but I was confident that it would be OK as our Mates had left before us and had come this way and got through OK , so we would too . I rode across and it was not deep at all , Steve followed without incident and we continued through a second crossing of the same creek also without a problem . A little further on , another tributary had joined this creek and added a considerable volume of water to it which became obvious at the subsequent crossing , it was about 25 meters across and moving quite fast from appearances . We stopped and scoped this one out , it looked pretty scary . Looking right across to the opposite bank I could see wet tyre marks leading up out of the water and as there were no other vehicles in sight each previous vehicle to cross had gotten through OK . With that though I entered the water and rode across , the crossing looked worse than it actually was and Steve then followed without a problem . There were one or 2 lesser water obstacles after that but none of them were as Sphincter puckering .

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The road dried out as we got to the Western side of the ranges and then we turned South on the Tar and Headed for Hawker as there we would have reception for our mobile devices so we could check weather conditions and road closures so to plan the next few days of our trip . Upon reaching the turn off for the Morelana Scenic drive we stopped and as there was no Road Closed sign displayed , we decided to poke our noses down the road and see how it was , it turned out to be pretty good for most of it's length condition wise , the scenery really was pretty special , just jaw dropping gorgeous in places and very pretty in others , really worthy of the title "Scenic Drive" . Right towards the Eastern end of the Morelana SD there was one 200 meter long diabolically muddy section , one of those " put the feet down and slide them along to stay upright" type sections .

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Once through that one section though the road became easily trafficable again and soon ended at an intersection with The Wilpena Pound tar rd where we turned Right and continued on the slab to Hawker . On arrival in Hawker we got a room at the hotel and unpacked the bikes , then made our way to the cafe for lunch , this time the cafe Nazi was nowhere to be seen .

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After lunch I got my maps and laptop out and set about looking at our options for the next few days , sadly the weather forecasters were all in agreeance that the rain was going to return to the area in about 36hrs time from then , so a plan was formulated to get a full days ride in the following day and again stay at Hawker that night following and see what the weather was doing then and make further plans with regard to the longer range forecast . While I was engaged in said planning and research Steve was walking around Hawker taking in the historic buildings and getting some exercise . The afternoon was whiled away having a few drinks in the bar and chatting with some locals and doing a bit of reading for relaxation . We had our evening meal in the Hotel and a couple of drinks too and then returned to our room to make contact with our wives and catch up with what was happening at home after being out of contact for a couple of days .
Last edited by Big Al on Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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1coolbanana
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Re: Flinders Ranges trip 2016

Post by 1coolbanana » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:33 pm

Awesome stuff, great read and excellent pictures Al :bowdown:

Once in a lifetime images of the Flinders looking like that :thumb:
Absolutely stunning :clap:

Thanks very much for posting this up

:popcorn:
Cowabunga dudes .......

Big Al
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:45 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie N.S.W.

Re: Flinders Ranges trip 2016

Post by Big Al » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:35 pm

Been at this for most of the day , time for a break .

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1coolbanana
Posts: 1910
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:14 pm
Location: NW Sydney

Re: Flinders Ranges trip 2016

Post by 1coolbanana » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:39 pm

And a well deserved one :D
Cowabunga dudes .......

Big Al
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:45 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie N.S.W.

Re: Flinders Ranges trip 2016

Post by Big Al » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:31 pm

Day 7 . 19 th September 2016

We were up at about 7 am , had a bit of toast and a cup of coffee in our room as the cafe was not open till 9 am and were on the bikes rolling onto the Highway about 0815 , we headed North out of Hawker for about 5 klm before turning West onto a dirt rd to check out more of the areas sights and great riding . We followed this rd for a while before I spotted what appeared to be a cemetery of in the paddock to our left , shortly after seeing the headstones a track came up on our left so we went down the track to check out this place . Steve had a bit of a whoops moment went he tried to change wheel tracks on wet red clay and dropped the Tenere , no damage done , we picked it up after the obligatory photo was taken and continued to the Cemetery gate .
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There were about 50 + headstones scattered over an area about the size of a large house block but no signs that a building was ever erected , just a fenced in area with graves dating back over 100 years . IIRC the Death dates ranged from 1860's through to very early 1900's . It seemed a little weird that these graves would be out in a field with no building anywhere in sight , but I guess they did that back in those days .

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We followed or planned route south along great winding dirt rds for a couple of hours before the dirt ended just on the outskirts of Quorn . We rode into the center of Quorn and located a cafe to get some lunch . On the way out of Quorn we had a look at some of the historic buildings and then found our dirt route heading East in the general direction of Carrieton .

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We came into Carrieton as planned from the West and turned to the North on R M Williams Way , just out of town we again turned off on the dirt , taking exactly the same roads as we had 4 or so days previously , this was on purpose as there was one particular road on this route we wanted to ride again as it was so great the first time .

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We followed our route back Hawker arriving at the perfect time to have a couple of beers before showering and getting ready for dinner . Dinner was had with a few ales to wash it down and we retired to our room to do some more reading and check out what was in store for us weather wise the next day . The weather prediction was pretty bleak ... wet and cold ! Bugger ! I had organised a ride for 2 days time to commence in Blinman and I was to be the lead rider , so we had to go to Blinman the next day , rain or no rain .
Last edited by Big Al on Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Big Al
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:45 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie N.S.W.

Re: Flinders Ranges trip 2016

Post by Big Al » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:37 pm

Day 8 . 20 th September 2016

We were up pretty early , the sky was just beginning to light up but it was also very heavily populated with very dark clouds , not long after I checked the sky it started raining pretty heavily . The rain seemed to be coming in waves , it would poor down for a short period and then taper off to light rain and then thump down again after a while to then ease off etc etc . This went on for an hour or 2 , we decided as we were only going to ride up to Blinman which was about an hour and a half riding time , we could wait out the weather for a while , have a hot Breakfast at the cafe 2 minutes walk away and then put our wets on and ride to Blinman after it had warmed up a bit and hopefully the worst of the weather would have blown over . We made it to the Cafe without getting wet and had breakfast and a coffee , the weather did improve slowly too , the showers were further apart . Breakfast done we made our way back to our room and put our wet weather gear on , got on our bikes and set off along the slab to Blinman , all the Dirt roads were closed to all traffic . A bit over an hour and a half later we arrived in Blinman and organised accommodation for the following 2 nights , we had scored well , a 2 bedroom flat in the rear of the General store . The weather was still poor , not raining all the time but regular showers of a light nature made sure a person needed their wet weather gear to remain dry if out in it . We wondered around Blinman between showers without staying far from cover and spent time reading and generally relaxing while waiting for the weather to improve . Due to the weather , the pub called at an unusually early hour for us , we were not alone in this regard , for there were other adventure riding Gentlemen at the pub having a few drinks as well to bide their time due to the weather , Steve and I spent the afternoon and evening in their company and were invited back to their accommodations communal area to partake in some Red wine tasting , we had a good night even if I can't quite remember it all .
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This pic was taken from the front veranda of the North Blinman Hotel , that is Steve trying to get a few close ups of the Emu walking around Blinman .
Last edited by Big Al on Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

Big Al
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:45 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie N.S.W.

Re: Flinders Ranges trip 2016

Post by Big Al » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:52 pm

Day 9 . 21 st September 2016

Today was planned to be a local ride , with me leading a group around the Public Access routes . Due to the weather and the state of the roads , no one showed up for my ride , I was not too disappointed as the route I had planned to take was closed anyway , so it was a washout ! The weather had improved a bit , but all the roads were still closed , so Steve and I did some more reading , then through the middle part of the day went for a walk around the local scenic walk which took about 2 hours with stops at interest points , the main one being for us a grader that was the primary road maintenance machine back when the roads were all dirt and before modern machinery was available .
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The afternoon saw more reading , I actually started reading and finished a full Novel in the time spent in the Blinman area waiting out the weather . The pub called early again but the drinking was at a slower pace than the previous evening , we enjoyed the company again of our Adventure riding friends but after a few drinks and then dinner we retired to our accommodation for a more sedate evening and a much less hazy morning in the morning .
Last edited by Big Al on Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Big Al
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:45 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie N.S.W.

Re: Flinders Ranges trip 2016

Post by Big Al » Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:25 am

Day 10 . 22 nd September 2016

We wanted to get to Arkaroola by mid afternoon on this day , but the only information we could get was that all dirt roads were still closed , and Arkaroola is accessed only by dirt roads , so it was decided that we needed internet access to check the SA roads website to see for ourselves what roads are open and what roads are closed to then work out if we could get to Arkaroola or not . It was damn cold early !
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We got on the road before 9 and rode straight down the slab back to Hawker with only a couple of stops for pics .
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Back in Hawker we pulled up at the cafe and there were 3 bikes already parked out the front , I recognised 2 of the 3 bikes . Inside the Cafe was my mate John with 2 mates of his , Reece and Murray . I had met Reece before but not Murray . Introductions were done and we joined them for Brunch , they told us that the roads to Arkaroola had been open since the late afternoon of the previous day so we were set to get to Arkaroola as planned . As we were eating another bike pulled up out the front and the rider came inside to see who we were , I was pleased to see it was Ash , a fellow I had ridden with a couple of years previously , we invited Ash to join us as he had planned to ride to Arkaroola via the most tar route due to being on his own , he accepted our offer so that made our formerly party of 2 now 6 .

We left the cafe and all filled our fuel tanks in Hawker , then I led the way North on the Blinman road for about 20 km before we turned off to the East onto dirt .

We stopped for a regroup after about 90 km .
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Then we stopped again and John , Murray and Reece made a cup of coffee and some hot noodles for lunch , Steve and Ash and I were not carrying cooking gear so we made do with Muesli bars and water .

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We arrived in Arkaroola resort about mid afternoon and organised to get the key to the private track we needed to use to get out to our destination for the afternoon , we also booked into our rooms and then dumped off our panniers in our rooms and made ready to ride out . About 3 O'clock saw everyone ready to go and we left headed for TK's Cairn . There was a few creek crossings to negotiate before we reached the gate and unfortunately on the second and more difficult one Steve dropped his bike while still running in a deeper section of the crossing . I waded in and helped Steve push his drowned Tenere out of the water . We started the dewater process and it took us about 45 minutes to get it going again , Steve decided he would return to his room and get the bike checked over before dark . The rest of us then continued along our route until we came to a more serious creek crossing . I rode across and stopped on the far bank , then walked back to the edge and warned the next rider Reece that it was quite deep and to keep up a steady pace to create a bow wave so as to make drowning his bike less likely . Unfortunately Reece got almost all the way accross before losing control and dropping his bike while running similarly to Steve . I waded into the creek and pushed Reece's bike out with him and then walked through the creek to show all the others just how deep it was , it was about an inch below the crutch of my pants in the deepest part . It was obvious that Murray's Vstrom would not get across without water ingress and Ash also decided he wanted to stay dry , so Murray and Ash turned around and went back to the resort with the intention of ordering John , Reece and myself a meal each if we did not get back in time to order one for our selves . John then rode into the creek and his bike stalled in the deep part , I again waded in and helped John to push his bike through the creek to the side of the creek where my bike was and Reece had begun dismantling his bike to begin the dewater process .

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Reece had left all his tools in his Panniers but fortunately john had his full tool kit and I was carrying a spark plug spanner that fits the 701's plug . John's bike was a simple drain the Carburetor bowl affair , the airbox was dry , so after a few minutes it was running again , Reece's bike was a fair bit more complicated due to some poorly thought out design and access issues to the spark plug area . Anyhow , we got the bike running just as the sun dropped below the hills to the West and the light began to really fade . We then suited up as quickly as possible and made our way to the parking spot below TK's Cairn . Parking our bikes and running up the hill in the last of the twilight saw us making our plan come to fruition , albeit with quite a few less mates than we had hoped to share the event with . You see , it was the 60 th Birthday of Tony Kirby , Tony had passed away in late 2010 from Motor Neuron Disease after being one of the people who initially kicked off the Adventure Motorcycle travel bug that I , and many others are afflicted by here in Australia. He Was a past Editor of "Australasian Dirt Bike" Magazine and also Started and Published his own Dirt Oriented Motorcycle Magazine for a number of years too , called " SideTrack " . He also helped set up and run Touratech Australia with Robin Box after Folding up Sidetrack Magazine due to issues with some manufacturers not liking his "truth before advertisers financial interests" editorial style . He was a great guy to be around and always had a funny spin to add to any situation , so you see , some of us were very determined to have a "drink" with Tk for his 60th Birthday at his Cairn on a hill top , where a group of mates and admirers had spread his ashes back in 2011 .

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Crap pic because there was not enough light and I was freezing .

Being after Sunset , John , Reece and I scrambled up the 100 m or so scree track to TK's Cairn , spent a minute or so in silence reflecting on what TK meant to each of us as it got darker by the second ,took a quick snapshot each , then Cracked the seal on a bottle of Good Australian Merlot Red wine , had a good slug of it each out of the bottle in true Adventurer style in TK's honour , Then scrambled back down to our bikes as the light really began to fade to darkness .

The Ride back to Arkaroola resort was in the twilight for about 10 minutes , then total darkness for the last 40 or so minutes , we were not going back through the creeks as the track is a one way affair , we were actually on a much easier to ride road by the time darkness fell completely , so , apart from the temperature dropping at a fast rate it was an uneventful run back to the resort . We each had a quick hot shower and dressed and made it into the dining room just as the kitchen staff announced they would not take any more meal orders once another 5 minutes has passed. so we ordered our meals and had a few drinks and enjoyed the good company we were experiencing . Meals came and were eaten , beers came and were drunk ....... a good night was had by the group .
Last edited by Big Al on Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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